Calculating pain and suffering damages is a complex process in personal injury cases. This is because pain and suffering are subjective and vary from case to case. In Friendswood, Texas, there is no exact formula for quantifying the pain and suffering you or a loved one experienced due to an accident. But if you or a loved one has been hurt, know that a personal injury lawyer can help you secure compensation for pain and suffering in your case.
Judges, juries, and insurance generally use different methods to estimate their value. Here is an overview of how pain and suffering are evaluated in Friendswood:
What Are Pain and Suffering Damages in Friendswood, TX?
Pain and suffering damages are a unique form of personal injury compensation. These damages are sometimes also referred to as non-economic damages. This is because they encompass the intangible and subjective effects of an accident or injury. This differs from the financial burdens that can be easily calculated, like medical bills, known as economic damages.
Pain and suffering damages recognize the impact of injuries on a person’s life. They offer restitution for physical discomfort caused by the injury. They also acknowledge their psychological and emotional toll.
Calculating Pain and Suffering in Friendswood, TX
In personal injury law, assigning a monetary value to pain and suffering is one of the most complicated parts of awarding damages. This is because there is no strict guideline or formula for doing so. Instead, legal professionals often rely on two established methods to estimate fair compensation.
The two widely recognized approaches for calculating pain and suffering are the Multiplier Method and the Per Diem Approach. Here is how each applies:
The Multiplier Method
This is a commonly utilized method for calculating damages. Under this method, economic damages, like medical bills and lost wages, are multiplied by a certain number. This number is known as a multiplier. The severity and permanency of your injuries play an important part in determining the multiplier, which is usually a number between 1.5 and 5.
For example, suppose Jane Doe was involved in a car accident in Friendswood. She sustained injuries, including a broken leg. She incurred $25,000 in medical bills and $5,000 in lost wages, or $30,000 in losses.
Since her injuries are severe but not permanent, her lawyer may select a multiplier of 3. Her lawyer would argue for $90,000 in pain and suffering damages, or $30,000 times 3.
The Per Diem Approach
This method assigns a specific dollar amount to every day the victim has lived with the pain and suffering caused by their injury. This continues until the victim has fully recovered. The daily rate, or per diem, may be based on the victim’s daily earnings. This symbolizes that a day of pain is worth at least a day’s earnings.
For example, suppose John Doe suffered a back injury after a slip and fall at a store in Friendswood. His injury is not permanent but requires significant recovery and rehabilitation. He has $50,000 in related medical bills and works for $300 daily.
John’s lawyer may choose the Per Diem method to argue that each day he suffers pain is worth his daily wage, or $300. If John needs 100 days to recover, his pain and suffering would be calculated at $30,000, or $300 times 100 days.
Factors Affecting Pain and Suffering Awards in Friendswood, TX
Pain and suffering awards in personal injury cases are subject to several factors. Judges, juries and insurance companies look to these factors to determine a fair amount that the plaintiff should receive:
- Severity and Type of Injury: More severe and disabling injuries generally result in higher pain and suffering awards.
- Recovery Time: Longer recovery periods can increase the award as victims endure more prolonged pain.
- Impact on Daily Life: If the injury affects daily activities, relationships, or the ability to enjoy life, it can lead to a higher compensation.
- Age of the Victim: Younger victims might receive larger awards because they may have to live with the consequences of the injury for longer.
- Evidence and Documentation: Thorough documentation of the injury’s impact, including medical reports and expert testimony, can significantly influence the value of these damages.
- Credibility of the Plaintiff: Juries may be influenced by the plaintiff’s testimony. Their credibility and demeanor can impact the value of damages that are awarded.
A personal injury lawyer can help you navigate these factors in your case. Lawyers familiar with courts in Friendswood can help you ensure that these factors are considered so you are fairly compensated for pain and suffering.
Other Factors Influencing Pain and Suffering in Friendswood, TX
Other factors can influence pain and suffering awards in Friendswood. These each have an impact on how damages for pain and suffering may be awarded:
Modified Comparative Fault
Texas law recognizes “comparative fault.” This means that if the injured person is found to be partially responsible for their accident, their damages can be reduced proportionally. If they are 51 percent or more responsible, they can be barred from damages entirely. This can reduce the pain and suffering damages you are awarded or bar them completely.
Limited Caps on Non-Economic Damages
Some states set caps on the non-economic damages that can be awarded at trial. Texas generally does not have caps for personal injury claims, except for medical malpractice cases. For example, the non-economic damage against all doctors or healthcare providers included in a medical malpractice case (if there are multiple defendants) may not exceed $500,000 in total.
Many personal injury cases have jury trials, and Texas juries have significant discretion in awarding pain and suffering damages. Juries will listen to the evidence presented, including the nature and extent of the injury. They will also listen to testimony from the injured party, their family, and medical experts. This can directly impact the value of your pain and suffering award.
Most personal injury cases in Friendswood are settled out of court. Insurance companies have their own methods for calculating pain and suffering. These are often based on algorithms that consider various factors similar to the courts. However, you and your attorney are under no obligation to assume the insurance company’s calculation as correct (in fact, it will almost certainly be too low).
Set up a Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Friendswood, TX
Calculating pain and suffering is subjective. It can be difficult to do so alone, so it Is important to consult with a Friendswood personal injury lawyer who can guide you based on the specifics of your case. At The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd, we know how to protect your right to these damages.